Tissue remodeling - from biophysical principles to drug design

A multidisciplinary approach to study the extracellular matrix

While most biological research focuses on what goes on inside the cell, we look at what is happening outside. Our lab studies the cellular microenvironment, which includes the extracellular matrix (ECM) - a collection of secreted molecules that provides structural and biochemical support.
We have found that dysregulated ECM remodeling enzymes (MMPs, ADAMs, LOX) can induce morphological changes that affect cellular behavior. This provides us with significant opportunities to influence various cellular processes by controlling the activity of these enzymes in health and disease. To this end, our group develops selective inhibitors and uses novel tools to study ECM functional remodeling. Our desire is to unravel key molecular mechanisms by directly observing ECM remodeling in different animal models on multiple scales. The mechanistic insights derived from our integrated multidisciplinary research enable us to design new therapeutic and diagnostic tools, some of which are currently being developed for clinical uses.

Matrix Metalloporteinase Biology, by Irit Sagi & Jean P. Gaffney

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